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Race to Zero: The next decade will decide the future of humanity

October 21, 2021

The stakes to address climate change have never been higher. The wellbeing of the planet, its ecosystems and people hang in the balance and their fate will be determined by the climate targets, policies and action taken this decade. All actors, including cities, need to do their part to ensure that the 1.5° target laid out in the Paris Agreement is met.

The Cities Race to Zero is a global campaign that aims to rally cities from around the world to commit to near term climate action to ensure we maintain on a 1.5° trajectory of global warming. It is a bold, ambitious global movement of cities who are committed to putting the goals of the Paris Agreement into action.

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AZ League of Cities & Towns 2021 Conference

September 23, 2021

On September 2, 2021, Sustainable Cities Network Director Anne Reichman and several Arizona city panelists participated in the AZ League of Cities & Towns Conference session “Resilient Cities & Towns: Reducing Risks and Seizing Opportunities.” During the session, the panelists touched on the importance of climate action planning for both small and large communities, integration of equity, and program improvements in the areas of transportation (EVs), solid waste, sustainable tourism and much more.

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Cooling Center Subgroup, MAG, and partners collaborate to provide heat relief to more than 25,555 Arizonans

September 20, 2021

Have you ever experienced the blistering heat of a summer afternoon in Arizona? Did you have water, shade, or air conditioning to provide heat relief and help cool you down? Unfortunately, there are Arizonans experiencing extreme heat that do not have consistent access to air conditioning or water, which can result in heat-related illness or even death. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has made finding heat relief even harder, but thanks to the collaboration of many Arizona partners, the Heat Relief Network continues to serve those in need during the hot summer months.

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ASU urban planning students receive APA AZ Chapter Award

August 6, 2021

We are excited to announce that the “Preliminary Housing Analysis & ADU Policy Recommendations for Peoria, AZ” project has received the 2021 “Student Planning Project” Chapter Award with the Arizona Planning Association! Meagan Ehlenz’s PUP 580 Planning Workshop and Deirdre Pfeiffer’s PUP 525 Urban Housing Issues class worked in conjunction with each other to research two affordable housing challenges in Peoria: a needs assessment and a policy strategy for Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinances. The collaboration between the two classes in ASU's School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning resulted in meaningful outputs, including peer community research, data analysis, development of design and policy standards, and the collection of public input, to help Peoria’s tackle their complex housing challenges.

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AZ Heat Resilience Workgroup working to address extreme heat

July 29, 2021

AZ Heat Resilience Workgroup working to address extreme heat

CBS News image of heat wave - most areas are red
CBS News image of heat wave

Extreme heat is often thought of in conjunction with Arizona, but other states are also experiencing unprecedented higher temperatures during a heat wave in the Pacific Northwest.

“Heat is a multifaceted problem and solutions require a lot of different pieces from a lot of different people and programs,” said David Hondula, associate professor at ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning . “We have the opportunity in our state to set international best practices about how to thrive in the face of extreme heat and other sustainability challenges but must be working together to do so.”

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Jay Davies: Community Builder

July 23, 2021

We are pleased to congratulate Jay Davies, with the City of Peoria on his receipt of the Gabe Zimmerman “Community Builder” Award!

Jay currently serves as the Interim Public Works Director and fmr Chief of Staff for the City Manager’s Office. The “Community Builder” award seeks to recognize efforts made by individuals that advance community pride through job creation and training, healthy communities, environmental and historical preservation, volunteer and philanthropic efforts, and educational advancement.

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Clarkdale and Project Cities recognized with ASU EPICS Community Catalyst Award

June 9, 2021

In other news, it was our pleasure to share this year's ASU EPICS Community Catalyst Award with our friends at the Town of Clarkdale. Over the years, the Project Cities team has arranged several projects with the innovative students in ASU EPICS, a program, of the Ira A Fulton Schools of Engineering. This particular project was a multi-team, multi-semester project assessing needs and strategies to help the Town of Clarkdale upgrade their digital infrastructure. The teams addressed some acute needs for better internet service for the community's students, as well as planning for longer-term needs, developing plans to incorporate strong public wifi and smart PA systems into planned park upgrades.

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Earth Day AZ beautified the landscape and inspired residents

June 7, 2021

Earth Day was something special in Arizona this year: it was a united movement of celebration and action. 10 Mayors and communities across the state joined together for Earth Day AZ, a collaborative effort to celebrate current climate action and inspire even more. From Flagstaff to Tucson and El Mirage to Oro Valley, Mayors, cities and residents showed up in solidarity this Earth Day, in whatever way they could.

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SCN Steering Committee appoints new chair and co-chairs

May 26, 2021

Early this Spring, ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network (SCN) Steering Committee appointed new city leadership to help guide the collaborative community network into the next year. Serving as the new chair and co-chairs are Braden Kay, Sustainability Director at the City of Tempe (Chair), and Fatima Luna, Environmental and Sustainability Advisor at the City of Tucson and Tim Conner, Manager of Environmental Initiatives at the City of Scottsdale (co-chairs).

Over the past decade, Bonnie Richardson has served an extensive term as SCN chair. Through her leadership, Bonnie is responsible for helping SCN grow to encompass communities statewide, as well as adapt to the many sustainability-related changes and issues facing cities and towns on a daily basis. Bonnie says that SCN has been “the touchstone for so many of the advances in sustainable planning and building in our cities over the last decade.”

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GovLove podcast highlights student led sustainability planning effort

May 5, 2021

For four years, Project Cities has acted as a convener for students and local government leaders to collaborate to tackle real-world sustainability problems and develop professional skills. As we wrap up another successful semester, Project Cities Program Manager Steve Russell and Victoria Caster from the City of Peoria were featured on GovLove, a podcast about local government, to discuss Peoria’s collaboration with ASU to work on the city’s Sustainability Action Plan (SAP). The discussion spans various topics, from the work that students have done with Peoria, as well as other partner communities, to the potential of collaboration with other cities and EPIC-N.

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Clarkdale project showcase recaps spring '21 projects

April 27, 2021

On April 15, 2021, ASU Project Cities hosted its third student showcase with the Town of Clarkdale. Students, faculty, and partners convened to learn more about this semester’s student projects, with video presentations from students. The floor was then opened for a Q/A session, presenting students with the opportunity to expand on their recommendations and connect with Clarkdale staff.

 

A video recording of the event will be posted to our YouTube channel, subscribe here.

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Peoria projects wrap up with spring '21 showcase event

April 26, 2021

On April 14, 2021, ASU Project Cities hosted its spring virtual student showcase for the City of Peoria student projects. Students, ASU staff, and Peoria staff gathered to learn about this semester’s student findings and answer additional questions. Following the presentations, participants split into virtual poster Q/A sessions to talk directly with the students and ask additional questions.

A video recording of the event will be posted to our YouTube channel, subscribe here!

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10 AZ Mayors Unite to Honor Earth Day 2021 and Advance Regional Sustainability Efforts

April 21, 2021

Ten Arizona Mayors pledged to partake in a statewide celebration of Earth Day this April. Their video message, as well as an extensive list of Earth Day events and activities, can be found at EarthDayAZ.org. In partnership and as participants of ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network (SCN), the Mayors and their respective cities are working to advance local and regional sustainability and resilience measures all year long.

Exciting and creative events are taking place across the state, both virtually and safely in person. In northern Arizona, Flagstaff is hosting virtual engagements through social media videos that highlights an outline for climate change and call to action.

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Mayors Across Arizona Join Together to Celebrate Earth Day AZ

April 19, 2021

Press Release: April 19, 2021

Mayors Across Arizona Join Together to Celebrate Earth Day AZ

 

Ten Arizona mayors are joining together to celebrate Earth Day AZ, a new statewide collaboration celebrating the many ways Arizona communities support the Earth with the goal of inspiring residents to take action for Earth Day during the month of April and beyond.

As members of and in partnership with Arizona State University’s Sustainable Cities Network (SCN), Arizona mayors and communities are showing that there is power in unity and that we all have a role to play in ensuring our planet’s health now and in the future. Collectively, we can protect our precious and diverse natural resources and secure a thriving future for our state and world.

“It is impressive and encouraging to see so many Arizona communities and mayors celebrating the importance of Earth Day and highlighting the importance of local actions,” said Anne Reichman, Director of ASU’s SCN. “We’re both honored and thrilled to support this statewide partnership and look forward to the positive impact local communities will contribute to the long-term sustainability of Arizona.”

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Peoria Planning and Zoning Commission offers key insights on student project

March 25, 2021

On Thursday, March 18, 2021, PC faculty and students convened with the City of Peoria’s Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss one of the spring 2021 student projects. Project Cities students Leslie Carnie, Raymundo Cabrera, and Patricia Cooley were joined by PC Program Manager Steven Russell, and longtime Project Cities faculty member Meagan Ehlenz, to share with City of Peoria commission members about the Spring 2021 student project, Affordable Housing Study: ADU Strategies, marking the first-time students have been able to speak in person with City staff since the start of COVID-19.

“Engaging in the process and interacting with the Commissioners and City Staff members was very impactful for me as well as the project.  The city-specific data they provided regarding ADU perceptions, preferred uses, and potential pitfalls will be crucial to the successful completion of our report.”

Patricia Cooley, Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning Student

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68 years of local government experience represented at Project Cities’ “Meet Peoria” event

March 1, 2021

On February 24, 2021, ASU Project Cities hosted a somewhat-rescheduled spring semester kickoff event with City of Peoria leadership and Project Cities students. Students had the opportunity to gain insights from a panel of Peoria city leadership, who all turned out to be ASU grads, representing a combined 68 years of local government experience. Peoria City Manager Jeff Tyne and Deputy City Manager Katie Gregory answered questions about public sector professional development and provided valuable insights on the current and future state of housing in Peoria, as well as the importance of community engagement for student projects.

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AZ Heat Preparedness and Resilience Workgroup

August 21, 2020

Downtown Phoenix skyline with yellow skyThis Workgroup was created in the summer of 2020 to share heat forecasts and warnings with communities; highlight approaches to heat relief, communications strategies and resources; identify opportunities and gaps in heat-related research; and connect cities and counties to regional and state resources and information. Read more on the Workgroup's webpage.

Partners:

Healthy Urban Environments (HUE)

Knowledge Exchange for Resilience (KER)

Sustainable Cities Network (SCN)

Personnel:

  • Melissa Guardaro, Assistant Research Professor, ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Institute of Sustainability; Healthy Urban Environments (HUE) & Knowledge Exchange for Resilience (KER)
  • Liza Kurtz, ASU PhD Student, Global Health
  • Anne Reichman, Director, ASU SCN & Project Cities
  • David Hondula, Associate Professor, ASU School of Sciences and Urban Planning
  • Paul Iniguez, Science & Operations Officer, NOAA/National Weather Service Phoenix, AZ
  • Braden Kay, Sustainability Director, City of Tempe

graph of heat related deaths in Arizona
Source: Arizona Department of Health Services

Flagstaff declares a climate emergency, leading Arizona planning and adaptation

July 30, 2020

At the recent (June 26, 2020) meeting, the Flagstaff City Council declared a Climate Emergency, prompting the city to update its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan to achieve community-wide carbon neutrality by the year 2030.

Communities across the country and world are recognizing the impacts of climate change on cities’ resources, economy, infrastructure, and quality of life. In Flagstaff, it affects snowpack, water availability, wildlife, and increases the chance of wildfires in the area. Flagstaff’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for climate risks, and safeguard the well-being of its residents for the future. To learn more about Flagstaff’s Sustainability initiatives, visit their website.

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